Open Letter To Gov. Hope Uzodinma By Sam Onwuemeodo

Dear Governor Hope Uzodinma,

Dear Appointees,

I salute you all.

Your Excellency, I would have written “My Dear governor” as Salutation, but I was taught by my English teacher that in letter writing, you have formal and informal letters. You go informal when writing to your Parents or closed ones. And you go formal when writing to those not within the circle or range of informal letter writing. You are not close to me. And you have no blood relationship with me, so I have to go formal.

Hence, Dear governor and not my dear governor. Once again, I salute you. I salute your Commissioners, Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants and others. Your appointees are all wonderful people and most of them tested and can be trusted. In terms of Productivity, they tested positive. But in terms of Coronavirus, they tested negative. So short a letter. It could also end up being, so long a letter.

Your Excellency, I do not know you Perse. But I know you now as my governor. I had been to your house at Omuma once. It was Hon. Jones Uzoka and Hon. Nkem Nwankwo who took me there. It was in connection with your 2006/2007 guber outing. The rest has become history.

Again, Your Excellency, I didn’t support you for the 2019 governorship election in the State, both in the Primary and in the election proper. I didn’t want you to become governor. I wanted Uche Nwosu to become governor. And I supported him. I carried him on my head. I was one of those who convinced Owelle Rochas Okorocha to adopt him, unknown to most people.

Some of us watched closely all the major or Senior appointees of Okorocha, and saw the Youngman Uche Nwosu as exceptional. Outstanding. Very humble. Very humane. Very Sincere. Unambitious unlike the rest. As Chief of Staff, you would not know unless someone had told you, this is Uche Nwosu. While others were working underground for the governorship, he remained calm and focused.

On my own, I began to market him among other appointees. At an expanded EXCO Meeting, when the flame of the 2019 guber race was lit or gaining momentum, Owelle mentioned four Senior appointees including a House of Representatives member he would like his Successor to be one of them. I said from my strategic position inside the Sam Mbakwe EXCO Chamber, Ugwuma Nwosu. The whole people in the hall began to shout Uche Nwosu.

Nwosu was the most popular among all the appointees. Owelle said Ok, if Uche Nwosu comes out for the governorship, that he would support him. The Chamber erupted in jubilation.

The moment I left the hall, I issued a Press release quoting Owelle, that he would Support Uche Nwosu if he comes out for governorship. I was silent on the other three names he mentioned. I did it deliberately. That was how all the government appointees gave Uche Nwosu to Rochas Okorocha for the governorship. We did it with good intention. He was the best.Most of the Senior appointees of Rochas Okorocha hate me for that reason till today, because they believed I carried the issue of Uche Nwosu both on my head and my shoulder. And I do not regret doing that. Some of them left to pursue their guber ambitions to the best of their abilities and those who remained, gave the Nkwerre guy skeletal support. But to God be the Glory.

Your Excellency, when the Supreme Court aborted Nwosu’s guber trip, we resolved to Support you. I authored all his releases accepting the verdict of the Apex Court in good faith and the one Congratulating you as Imo governor in which he assured to support you. That is where we are as I write. So long or so short a letter, to the Oru-East born governor and his appointees. Your Excellency, I am not your fan, but you have my sincere Support as my governor.

Your Excellency Sir, Camphope didn’t make you governor. The Camp must have done the best it could. It was your platform or flight ticket but not the aircraft. It didn’t make you governor. God who orders the affairs of men made you governor. In other words, God first, and then, Patriotic Imo Citizens made you governor. And you have appreciated whatever role the Camphope apostles must have played by selecting your appointees from them. That was a good action.

But it is also true that anything Camp Connotes Smallness. It goes with tent or clique. A small group of people. But as a governor, you cannot be having camp again or tent. Methinks too, that the word Camp does not suit or fit the Politics of a sitting governor. So, disband Camphope or change the nomenclature. It will help in Strengthening your Political horizon or lengthen your Political antenna in the State including the wards and LGAs. And because of appointments, those in Camphope in the LGAs and wards are holding tight their keys into the Camp.

So, if you Continue to operate with this Camphope as it is now you won’t have the kind of structures expected of you at the grassroots as governor. And if you ask those inmates of the Camphope in the LGAs and Wards to open their gates for others to enter, they won’t do that because to them, the smaller the number, the better for them. So, disband it or find a more broad stuff to allow fresh Political air. Camphope Sounds or appears too Personal. Find a more elaborate name or coinage. Like Achike Udenwa had Redemption, Ikedi Ohakim had New Face, Rochas Okorocha had Rescue Mission and Chief Emeka Ihedioha had Rebuild Imo.

On APC, Your Excellency, your approach matters a great deal. As the governor of the State, whoever should be the Chairman of the Party must be your Slot. Simplicita. But you know how fragmented the APC was, prior to your governorship and following the Primaries or Politics of the Party for the 2019 Poll. The way you approach the whole thing now will matter a lot. Yes, you are the governor and the leader of the Party in the State. Nobody can deny you the structure of the party in the State as a sitting governor. But in going for the structure, you also know that there are those who made APC what it is in the State before your coming or who had done enough sacrifice for the APC to be in the State. You also have to accommodate or carry along such people in a manner they would say or see that you mean well.

I told Chief Ihedioha that in Igbo Context, a woman selling red oil or palm oil in the market does not pray or cause stampede or crisis in the same market. Onwa Oyoko, you are selling palm oil as we write and you do not cause stampede in the market. Go for goal. Wisdom is key. Don’t play to diminish anybody including Owelle Okorocha or Ifeanyi Araraume. Play to keep them relevant since Politics of today might be different from the Politics of tomorrow. Keep them on your side. It pays more to do that. And I wish you would read my lips well. All of you have a common enemy. And that is INEC in the State which is a branch of PDP.

Your Excellency, the voices you hear from both within and outside the State will either help you or not help you. Some of these voices would tell you to ignore everybody or fight everybody. You use your God-given wisdom to know which road is safer. The reason being that there is no disappointment Rochas Okorocha or Ikedi Ohakim or Achike Udenwa met or experienced in government, you would not meet or experience. In few months time, some of the appointees would begin to tell the world that they are not seeing anything. You know what “not seeing anything” connotes or implies. In eight months, Ihedioha’s appointees had begun to say that.

Your Excellency, the issue of empowerment would also come up in your government among the appointees. One of the angers of most appointees of Owelle Okorocha was that he excessively and perhaps, unconsciously over-empowered few, at the expense of others. And some of those few, were those who left the government with bloated ambitions and began to attack him. Some others advanced and today, they have also begun to surge towards you, as the new Sheriff in town. Empowerment does not guarantee loyalty. What guarantees loyalty is the conviction or character of the individual appointees. So, in empowering the appointees, do not over enrich others at the detriment of others. It cannot be even. But make it reasonably even.

Also bear in mind that Imo people have never and will never be in the habit of Celebrating any sitting governor. Do not be carried away by the Congratulatory Messages of today. They will criticize you. They will attack you. But do all you can for posterity and for history to be on your side and for the God you serve.

Today, the Panels set up by Chief Ihedioha have been hard on Okorocha. But one thing should be consoling on the part of the former governor.And that is the fact that, his projects have continued to be mentioned and certain folks quarreling with the prices. It should have also been nice if you expand the scope of the Panels to include 1999 to 2007, 2007 to 2011. And from May 2019 to January 2020, so that, Imo people and the public in general would also know what the PDP governments in the State within these periods did with their own allocations and other finances, for the total of twelve years and eight months the party governed the State. Let us see their own projects and perhaps also quarrel with their own prices.

Most of the Panel members are PDP. The Secretary of the Panel on Contracts, Dame Comfort Obi is a known PDP apologist. She was the Chairman of the Media and Publicity Sub-Committee for Chief Ihedioha’s inauguration as governor in 2019. But it does not matter. Let the scope of the Panels be expanded to capture the periods I have thrown up at least to subdue certain insinuations and innuendos.

Your Excellency, you are known in the State as a man with good heart. I agree with that. With God on your side, you will do well as governor. You are not wicked both by nature and by belief unlike those in the most recent government before you. And I have not seen any wicked man or woman among your appointees; Your deputy looks like an Irish Priest. So, no cause for alarm. It is better than a situation where the governor, deputy governor, Secretary to Government, Attorney-General would have held the franchise of vendetta, vindictiveness and wickedness. Abraham’s faith was counted for him as righteousness. Your goodness or generosity could also be counted for you as righteousness. Your Excellency, let me tell Your appointees something before concluding this memo to you.

Every ministry is viable or promising or lucrative. It all depends on vision and mindset. God can make a dry land to be fertile. They should shun the bravado the PDP appointees were known for. Moderate life style is the panacea. Do not go for police orderly when you could not afford that even as an individual. Drive yourself if you cannot afford to pay a driver especially if you are not a commissioner or adviser.

As the Chief Press Secretary to Owelle Okorocha, my biggest drink was Amstel Malt. And luckily for me, where my private office is located, there are a lot of food vendors. So I was and still eating “mama put”. In my house, I enjoy any Soup cooked with bongo fish. When we travelled, I would look for five or Seven thousand naira hotel. I am a village man. I do not know what they call designer shoe or designer clothe.

The only time I slept in a big hotel was in 2010 when the governor then, Chief Ohakim invited me to Abuja and I was at Protea hotel. Appointees not living beyond their means is where the true honour lies. I had three aides, two in my official office and one in my private office and I paid them what my salary could carry. I am talking in tongues here. Commissioners would Statutorily have drivers the government would pay. But other appointees may make do with what they have.

The appointees should be the unifying forces in their wards and LGAs for APC. And they should shun undue ego in the overall interest of the State and the government. They should not be afraid of accommodating anybody having sympathy for governor Uzodinma or APC. They should not begin to build their own Political empires or enclaves like some of those under Owelle Okorocha. God will see all of them through.

Your Excellency, like I had predicted, you will do well. It will be well with you. It will be well with your appointees. It will be well with Imo people, both big and small. The Coronavirus plague won’t near our dwelling places. And I know everybody would say, Amen.


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